Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Habitat use and productivity of Rio Grande wild turkey hens in southwestern Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qb98mk690

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  • Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) ecology has been examined within its native range, but knowledge of extralimital populations of Rio Grande wild turkeys (M. g. intermedia) is lacking. I investigated habitat use, characteristics of activity sites, home ranges and movements, productivity, and survival of Rio Grande turkey hens from 1989 through 1991. I obtained >6,000 locations of 76 radio-tagged hens in Douglas County, Oregon and quantified characteristics of 99 roosts, 126 nests, and 64 brood-rearing sites. Turkeys selectively used meadows and hardwood/conifer cover types during winter and summer (P < 0.05). Adult hens roosted in dense young conifer stands more often than expected throughout the year; hardwood/conifer woodlands were used more than expected for roosting by all flocks (P < 0.05). Hens nested in 8 of 10 cover types; recent clearcuts were used more than expected (P < 0.05). Use of meadows and hardwood/conifer habitats by brood hens exceeded availability (P < 0.05). Dense sapling/pole and mature conifer stands were used less than expected at all times (P < 0.05). Adults roosted in Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) more than expected (P < 0.05), but hen-poult flocks roosted in tree species in proportion to availability (P > 0.50). Nest sites were characterized by relatively dense understory, but no relationship was observed between nest success and vegetation characteristics. Brood-rearing sites had sparse horizontal screening and moderate vegetative cover. The overall nesting rate was 97% and renesting accounted for 17% of poults hatched. In contrast to other populations, renesting after brood loss was common among adult hens. Annual survival rates varied among years (0.50 to 0.89) but did not differ between adults and yearlings (P > 0.17). Prescribed burning to reduce dense shrub cover should improve stands for nesting and brood rearing. Maintaining or increasing areas of mixed hardwood/conifer cover types would ensure availability of habitat for brood rearing, roosting, and year-round use. My research indicated that Rio Grande turkeys were more adaptable and productive than Merriam's wild turkeys (M. g. merriami) in Oregon. High nest success in several cover types and use of several cover types for brood rearing and roosting indicated that Rio Grande turkeys would thrive under a variety of habitat conditions.
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